History of slavery  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The history of slavery covers many different forms of human exploitation across many cultures and throughout human history. Slavery, generally defined, refers to the systematic exploitation of labor for work and services without consent and/or the possession of other persons as property. There is no clear timeline for the formation of slavery in any formalized sense. Slavery can be traced to the earliest records, such as the Code of Hammurabi, which refers to slavery as an already established institution.

Slavery is rare among hunter-gatherer populations as slavery depends on a system of social stratification. Slavery also requires economic surpluses and a high population density to be viable. Due to these factors, the practice of slavery would have only proliferated after the invention of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution about 11,000 years ago.

Origins

Slavery in antiquity

Evidence of slavery predates written records, and has existed in many cultures. Slavery is rare among hunter–gatherer populations, as slavery is a system of social stratification. Mass slavery also requires economic surpluses and a high population density to be viable. Due to these factors, the practice of slavery would have only proliferated after the invention of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution about 11,000 years ago.

Slavery was known in civilizations as old as Sumer, as well as almost every other ancient civilization, including Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient India, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Islamic Caliphate, and the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas. Such institutions were a mixture of debt-slavery, punishment for crime, the enslavement of prisoners of war, child abandonment, and the birth of slave children to slaves.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "History of slavery" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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